Ford Madox Ford and Englishness


Volume Editors: Dennis Brown and Jenny Plastow
The controversial British writer Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939) is increasingly recognized as a major presence in early twentieth-century literature. International Ford Madox Ford Studies has been founded to reflect the recent resurgence of interest in him. Each volume is based upon a particular theme or issue; each will relate aspects of Ford’s work, life, and contacts, to broader concerns of his time. Ford is best-known for his fiction, especially The Good Soldier, long considered a modernist masterpiece; and Parade’s End, which Anthony Burgess described as ‘the finest novel about the First World War’; and Samuel Hynes has called ‘the greatest war novel ever written by an Englishman’. These works, together with his trilogy The Fifth Queen, about Henry VIII and Katharine Howard, are centrally concerned with the idea of Englishness. All these, and other works across Ford’s prolific oeuvre, are studied here. Critics of Edwardian and Modernist literature have been increasingly turning to Ford’s brilliant 1905 experiment in Impressionism, The Soul of London, as an exemplary text. His trilogy England and the English (of which this forms the first part) provides a central reference-point for this volume, which presents Ford as a key contributor to Edwardian debates about the ‘Condition of England’. His complex, ironic attitude to Englishness makes his approach stand out from contemporary anxieties about race and degeneration, and anticipate the recent reconsideration of Englishness in response to post-colonialism, multiculturalism, globalization, devolution, and the expansion and development of the European Community.
Ford’s apprehension of the major social transformations of his age lets us read him as a precursor to cultural studies. He considered mass culture and its relation to literary traditions decades before writers like George Orwell, the Leavises, or Raymond Williams. The present book initiates a substantial reassessment, to be continued in future volumes in the series, of Ford’s responses to these cultural transformations, his contacts with other writers, and his phases of activity as an editor working to transform modern literature. From another point of view, the essays here also develop the project established in earlier volumes, of reappraising Ford’s engagement with the city, history, and modernity.

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”a resurgence of interest in his pioneering narrative techniques has led to the publication of a fine collection of essays, Ford Madox Ford and Englishness”; “exemplary collection of essays”; “Exceptional in scope and sophisticated in depth … invaluable contributions to the study of … Ford in particular and to the study of literary modernism in general, revealing a wide range of exegetical and theoretical methodologies that will invigorate the field for years to come.” in: Studies in the Novel, Vol. 41:1 (Spring 2009), 116-120
John MOLE: Epigraph: ‘Fordie’
Max SAUNDERS: General Editor’s Preface
Dennis BROWN and Jenny PLASTOW: Introduction
Philip DAVIS: The Saving Remnant
Ralph PARFECT: Romances of Nationhood: Ford and the Adventure Story Tradition
Sara HASLAM: England and Englishness: Ford’s First Trilogy
Andrzej GASIOREK: Ford Among the Aliens
Karen MCDERMOTT: The Impressionistic ‘Rendering’ of Englishness in Ford’s Fifth Queen Trilogy
Donald MACKENZIE: A Road not Taken: Romance, History and Myth In Ford’s Fifth Queen Novels
Peter EASINGWOOD: ‘What I am Always wanting to Say’: Ford Madox Ford and the English ‘Literary Myth’
Jason HARDING: The Englishness of The English Review
Nick HUBBLE: Beyond Mimetic Englishness: Ford’s English Trilogy and The Good Soldier
Anurag JAIN: When Propaganda is Your Argument: Ford and First World War Propaganda
Jenny PLASTOW: Englishness and Work
Christine BERBERICH: A Modernist Elegy to the Gentleman? Englishness and the Idea of the Gentleman in Ford’s The Good Soldier
Austin RIEDE: The Decline of English Discourse and the American Invasion in The Good Soldier and Parade’s End
Jörg W. RADEMACHER: Ford Madox Ford’s Englishness as Translated into German in Some Do Not . . . and No More Parades
Robert E. MCDONOUGH: Escape from Englishness: The Rash Act and Henry For Hugh
Christopher MACGOWAN: History, Identity and Nationality in Ford’s Great Trade Route
Dennis BROWN: ‘But One is English’: Ford’s Poetry 1893-1921